Author Archives: whbbeekeepers

AGM and Honey Show, 14 November 2015

Our AGM, and the following Honey Show, made for an interesting afternoon, last weekend.

At the AGM, it was clear that we have had a good year as a branch, as Julie’s ‘Secretary’s Report’ detailed, and Roger reported also on our increased funds in the branch. New branch officers were appointed by the meeting. The Minutes of the meeting are available here:  Bees – Minutes of AGM November 2015.

The Honey Show saw a small but good collection of entries, some of which are shown in the photo below, courtesy of Tilly Bayes:

Some of the entries in the 2015 Honey Show

Some of the entries in the 2015 Honey Show

 

 

Keeping the winter stores going – advice from Uncle Drone

‘Worried of Whitstable’ asks:

Dear Auntie Bee and Uncle Drone

My bees are still flying in all this mild weather and I’m worried that they’re using up their winter stores really fast at the moment. Should I give them some fondant now or is it better to let them use their own stores first and put fondant on later?

Uncle Drone replies:

Well this point is of concern to all of us.  It is too late in the season for syrup and it is wise to keep as much of their own stores intact as they act as heat sinks/insulation as well as food stores

So, fondant is the only option but it attracts moisture so must be given in small quantities (say 300-400 g) and wrapped in cling film (or flattened out in a ziplock freezer bag), cutting/slicing into it with a knife where it is to be placed over a hole in the crown board.

Once given/started it should be continued on demand till spring.

Autumn courses and workshops

Now that it’s the time of year when we’re not involved in so much hands-on stuff with our colonies, it’s a good time to consider taking a course, attending a workshop or a bigger event, in order to gain more knowledge and insight.

a) The ‘Beekeepers@KSRC’ group has some good evening sessions coming up next month on the key skills for improvers (beekeepers with a little experience), details of which can be found on their website at http://ksrcbees.org.uk/?page_id=4

b) Another event is a talk by Jennifer Berry, leading American bee breeder, researcher, author and lecturer. 7.30pm Thursday 5th November, Crofton Hall, Orpington.

Sidcup beekeepers would like to remind everyone that Jennifer Berry, a world renowned expert and colleague of Keith Delapane at Georgia University, is giving a talk : ‘an American take on beekeeping’, on 5 November. For the past fourteen years, Jennifer has been the Apicultural Research Coordinator and Lab Manager for the University of Georgia Honey Bee Programme. Recently, she has also undertaken an ambitious campaign to educate the public about the importance of pollinators and other beneficial insects, including honey bees, and how to reduce pesticide use.This should be a fascinating evening – Jennifer has published many articles and academic papers, and some of her queens reside in colonies at the White House. We are very privileged that she has agreed to fit in this event for us whilst visiting the Northern Ireland annual conference – there will not be another opportunity this year to hear her lecture in SE England.

 Crofton Hall is immediately adjacent to Orpington railway station BR6 0SX , and also has good parking. Admission payable on the door is £5, which includes tea / coffee and cakes. To help us with catering arrangements, please let Melody Faulkner know if you plan to come on melody.faulkner@googlemail.com

c) The National Honey Show (http://honeyshow.co.uk/) is on at the end of October, in Surrey. This is a major national event and a fascinating one, with so many good talks and workshops, exhibitions and seminars, as well as the mindboggling variety of items in the trade hall. It’s a very good day/weekend to consider attending whether you’re a complete beginner, an improver, or someone who is thinking about becoming a beekeeper.

Stop Press: Branch Honey Show and AGM dates to be changed

Due to various unavoidable absences it has been decided that our Honey Show and AGM will be postponed to a new date in November, which will be circulated very soon.

In the meantime, for those branch members who are poised to enter something in the show, it will be based on the same rules as the Dover BKA one, shown in the file appended below. Time to start looking through the jars of honey, picking the most perfect ones…

Show Schedule 2015 (internet version)(1)

Report from the branch meeting of 26 September 2015

This afternoon’s meeting was well attended with around 18 members present, both to listen to a talk from Sue and Keith on the points to keep in mind when preparing entries for a honey show, and also to take part in the final hive inspections of the year. For the latter, we divided into three groups – beginners and would-be beginners, then two groups of people who were more advanced.

Julie showed the beginners (including one very small beginner…) the things to look for when checking frames in a hive for good health at this time of year – as shown in the photo below:

A lot to look for

A lot to look for

Keith was demonstrating the use of the double floor he had constructed to use in drying wet supers, in this case with three supers from this apiary stacked on the right hand side of the floor, shown in the picture below:

How to dry supers without getting them refilled

How to dry supers without getting them refilled

All in all it was a very constructive afternoon.

Membership of the branch – a new year starts

It’s the time of year when membership needs to be renewed and the form for this is attached both here and on our Facebook group. For anyone who is not currently keeping bees but would like to join the branch/come to meetings/learn more about honeybees, you can join as a ‘Friend’ – we have quite a few people doing it that way at the moment and everyone is welcome. 🙂

KENT BEE SUB FORM

At the AGM this coming October we have some interesting new plans to share…